You know that heart health is essential, which means you need to find effective ways to challenge your heart and have fun at the same time. Here are 8 group fitness classes (or types of workouts) set to make a statement in 2020:
- Rebounding. Bouncing on a trampoline is tons of fun, and a workout using the mini version of this childhood staple is making a comeback. Bouncing benefits are far-reaching, as rebounding works the core musculature and lower body, supports bone health, and may have positive effects on balance, coordination, the lymphatic system and pelvic floor health. And, as if these benefits aren’t enough to convince you to give it a try, the results of this ACE-sponsored study found that rebounding is an effective cardio workout that doesn't feel as hard as it actually is. Energy expenditure is approximately equivalent to running 6 mph on flat ground or biking at 14 mph, although participants report it feeling far less challenging.
- Boxing/kickboxing. Much like rebounding, this 90’s fitness favorite is back. Concepts like Rumble and 9 Round are reinventing the cardio kickboxing class that was so popular before the turn of the century. New and improved heavy bags, technology (for monitoring intensity and keeping track of the workout), high energy music and unique programming concepts are just a few of the reasons a new generation is falling in love with this workout. These classes typically combine short bursts of traditional boxing with simple, straightforward conditioning. Not only does this format test your heart in a new way, it also improves your coordination and strength simultaneously.
- Rowing. What once was an overlooked piece of equipment on the exercise floor has become a staple in popular workouts such as Orange Theory, F45 and stand-alone boutiques such as Row House. People are gravitating toward this unique cardio option because it’s becoming more and more accessible, and the lack of impact combined with ability to vary (and measure) intensity quickly and easily make it a great complement to anyone’s workout plan.
- Dance. It’s hard to provide an exhaustive list of all the dance options that exist, as so many variations have popped up over the past 20 years since Zumba got us back in the groove. Regardless of the genre, dance is still popular with exercisers of all ages because it’s both fun and effective. Dancing can be low impact, test your cognitive abilities and make you smile all at the same time. Here are a few programs to check out: World of Dance - UJam, FitSteps, LaBlast and BollyX.
- High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is still hot, but now you can find even more variety to suit your needs. Traditional 60-minute classes and express classes (with or without equipment) are just about everywhere. Many gyms are offering their own proprietary versions of HIIT workouts in the main studio, as well as utilizing the protocol in the indoor cycling studios. Boutique offerings such as Orange Theory and F45 have kept the category thriving by turning EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) into a household term. HIIT is fast paced and challenges your heart differently than a steady-state dance class or long jog. But, as with any form of exercise, too much of a good thing could backfire. Be sure to limit your HIIT workouts to two to three days a week and keep other types of cardio in your rotation.
- Indoor Cycling. Indoor cycling is another excellent cardio option, with countless variations to attract every type of fitness enthusiast. Much like rowing and rebounding, indoor cycling’s impact on the body is minimal, making it easy on the joints. If taught properly, you control the resistance, which means you can make the workout easier or harder as needed, and the workout can focus on endurance or use intervals to challenge your anaerobic fitness. Most clubs offer indoor cycling, and there is no shortage of boutique concepts (e.g., CycleBar, SoulCycle, FlyWheel), and even connected fitness options (e.g., Peloton). Each of these offer their own unique “spin” on this fun workout. Technology plays a significant role in some variations, which might include power meters to measure effort, digital “leader boards” to gamify the experience, performance data delivered post-workout via email, and immersive experiences with incredible displays to help keep your mind off the work.
- Combination Classes. Combination classes are ideal because they mix up the type of work, which can help keep injuries caused by repetitive motion at bay. Plus, time flies when you’re bouncing back and forth between activities. Combination classes are also a great way to check out new workouts in smaller doses before committing to a full-length version.
- Community Meet-ups. Opportunities for people to meet up outside and move together is gaining in popularity. Instead of exclusively offering classes bound by studio walls, some facilities are breaking out of the club and venturing into the wide open. Run clubs, hiking groups, rowing meet-ups and outdoor bike rides provide social connection, sunshine and another fun way to move your body.